We’re too quick to punish and pounce, and too slow to pause and think
When 77-year-old then candidate Joe Biden confused his wife for his sister at a campaign event, right-wing Fox pundits were all too quick to play pretend doctor and diagnose him with mental disability. A year later, the conservative National Review ran an article titled “Something is wrong with the President” after another misstep.
Forget that lifelong stutterer Biden is nearing 80 years old and remembers more facts about the world than I recall about what I did yesterday at age 52. …
I haven’t really been much of a superhero fan since my childhood days, when Adam West played Batman, Lynda Carter played Wonder Woman, Christopher Reeves was Superman, and Michael Gray as Billy Batson in Shazam!
Of course, like most kids back then, I watched superhero cartoons every Saturday morning.
The Wonder Twins. Wonder twin powers, activate.
Aquaman. Home is calling.
The Green Lantern. In brightest day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape my sight.
Batman and Robin. Holy Hamlet, Batman.
Superman. It’s a bird… It’s a plane… It’s Superman.
Wonder Woman and her invisible airplane.
Until I was about…
We won’t achieve true justice for anyone until Jews are included in social justice
Long before I learned the art of calm and grace, I lost my cool when my blonde, Aryan-looking German law school classmate Mark from small-town Ohio met me and immediately remarked you don’t look Jewish.
“What the fuck is that supposed to mean?” I snapped back. “Do Swedish Jews look Jewish? Do Ethiopian Jews look Jewish? What about Moroccan Jews?” I continued in disgust.
Not my finest hour.
The odd thing is, I probably do look somewhat European Jewish, although recent DNA results shared my Algerian…
Mark Twain once said that travel is the cure to racism
An acquaintance of mine heard I was planning to tour Istanbul during my twelve-hour layover en route to Rwanda this past July.
“I think you should stay at the airport. The Muslim Brotherhood runs Turkey and there’s a good chance you’ll be kidnapped. You know that happens to tourists there. You can’t be safe there as a Jew.”
I didn’t need an unsolicited text to know that Turkey’s seven-year-long president, Tayyip Erdoğan, has been slowly turning Turkey into a more extreme country. I knew he had imprisoned secular professors…
Thomas LaRue grew up in Newark, New Jersey to a single mother. A Black mother who spoke fondly of the Jewish people. So much so that LaRue used his singing talents to learn Yiddish and Jewish music to become a cantor. Music producer, performer and musicologist Henry Sapoznik recently located a 1923 recording of LaRue. His beautiful Jewish music in Yiddish.
A cantor, or chazzan, is the person who leads religious services for Jewish congregants. The person sings various melodies throughout the services, and for most Jews this takes place on the Sabbath, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. These prayers…
When Tragedy Struck Denver’s Jewish Community
The outpouring of support from family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and even random social media followers in response to the tragic murder of Shmuel Silverberg outside of my son’s Jewish school in Denver has been so heartwarming.
Friends in Israel, Florida, France, Illinois, New York, Ohio, Saudi Arabia, St. Louis, Denver, L.A., and many more places sent me messages and called to offer their heartfelt support and condolences. …
Re-Entering the Sunshine
A bearded man in a long black coat and black hat walked into our little office at the Jewish Law Students Association at the University of Toledo. There weren’t many Jews in Toledo, so we had this group to plan occasional social events and celebrate holidays together. But we weren’t religious, and this ultra-religious man in our office was initially a bit uncomfortable.
“So, would any of you guys be interested in studying some Gemara,” the orthodox rabbi asked several of us.
“Geh-what?” I asked. “Gemara. Talmud. You know, Jewish legal texts,” the rabbi replied.
Don’t wait until something happens to you
August 18, 2021. A 6:00 a.m. text from my ex-wife.
“A student from Cleveland was killed in a shooting outside of our son’s school at 11:30 p.m. last night.”
My son attends a Jewish institution in seemingly calm, sunny, peaceful Denver, Colorado. Parents from around the country send their teenage boys to study there. Each one to become and grow into what in Yiddish is referred to as a mensch. The best translation… a kind, loving, compassionate man.
The headlines across Jewish news outlets worldwide reported the murder within hours. The Jerusalem Post…
Emerging from childhood trauma
Dad was never home for dinner with the family on weeknights. Ever. And only occasionally on weekends. As a young child, I thought life was so unfair. He was the hardest working man in America — left for work at seven and came home past my bedtime. I barely saw him. Always working but never making enough money to show for it.
To make matters worse, my mother started accusing Dad of adultery. I was in the third grade and just one room over in our small 1,300-square-foot house the first time I heard the screaming.